Tuesday, Mar. 10, 2009

Herbert Hoover

31st President, 1929-33

If another face is ever carved into Mount Rushmore, odds are it won't be Herbert Hoover's.

The 31st President is best remembered for his disastrous response to the stock-market crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression, pooh-poohing government intervention in favor of self-reliance as millions suffered.

The nickname for shantytowns that cropped up all over the country — Hoovervilles — left little doubt as to who was blamed for the crisis. Hoover's popularity wasn't helped by his continued support for Prohibition, prompting jeering chants of "We want beer!" from fans at one baseball game.

Hoover took a pounding from Franklin Roosevelt and was unceremoniously booted from the White House, though his reputation improved over the next 30 years as he worked to address famine and took on other charitable pursuits.

And the Hoover Dam — which he supported as Commerce Secretary and then as President — is awfully impressive.

By Randy James